Human Meds for Animals

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Human Meds for Animals?

Our pharmacists are often asked by pet owners if it is safe to give animals medications that were originally intended to treat humans. Many common prescription and over-the-counter human medications are used for animals; however, the response, side effects, and dosages may differ greatly from those of humans. For example, dogs may require up to twenty times the typical human dose of a particular thyroid medication, but only a fraction of the aspirin dose. Animals, including cats and dogs, often lack the required enzymes for metabolizing (breaking down) a drug and therefore are unable to eliminate the drug from the body, or break it down much slower than humans do. Therefore, certain medications may need to be avoided or given in significantly reduced doses. For example, aspirin is safe for use in several species of animals, including dogs, if given in appropriate doses. However, aspirin is usually not recommended in cats, except in much lower dosages under strict veterinary supervision – and even small doses of acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) can be poisonous to a cat. Human drugs are often used very differently in pets. Various medications that are used to treat anxiety or depression in humans are used for other purposes in animals, such as calming aggression, stopping urine spraying, improving appetite, and reducing territoriality or obsessive licking.

Our professional staff works together with pet owners and veterinarians to provide customized solutions to medication problems and meet each animal’s specific needs.

Copyright 2002, Storey Marketing – Veterinary Website Updates. Reproduction prohibited without subscription from Storey Marketing (814-337-3441). Questions regarding this article should be directed to the compounding professionals at Martin Avenue Pharmacy, Inc. (630-355-6400).